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Thread: Dream Journal?

  1. #1
    practical experience, FTW MakanJuu's Avatar
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    Dream Journal?

    Chastise me if this already exists here somewhere, but does anyone try to keep a dream journal for idea inspiration? I always thought it was futile, considering you have about four dreams per 8 hours of sleep & only even remember bits & pieces of the last one when you wake up, but my sleep schedule just went really weird in the past couple days & I've begun sleeping in two four hour cycles & decided to try to record my dreams.

    Tonight's was strange- it involved me playing a new Assassin's Creed game that takes place with the same old character in a modern suurban area. At some point, I actually ended up being a part of the game & befriended the main character, who developed a bizarre crush on my mother. Then, it developed into just hanging out with a bunch of Assassin's like we were buddy-buds at my childhood home in the country, where we were all trying to figure out why my pine trees were creepier than usual & why there was a tourist nature park in my backyard...
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  2. #2
    Just pokin' about Anna Spargo-Ryan's Avatar
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    Mine is more of a "wake up at 3am and write the idea down because there's no way you'll remember it in the morning" journal. Sometimes it's rubbish, but it's worth it for the occasional snippets of inspiration that come out.
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    the Juggernaut of Imperfection crunchyblanket's Avatar
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    I kept one once but I don't know what kind of story can result from a dream in which one's brother keeps emailing them pictures of cats with Mike Baldwin's* face photoshopped onto them.

    *from Coronation Street. I don't even watch that program.


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    Le sigh. Tedium's Avatar
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    Yeah, I usually remember one or two when I wake up. I've written them down over the years, but not with any sort of regularity.

    Sometimes you get a good idea, and sometimes you don't. Sometimes they are just downright odd.

    My favorite was one involving a Hitler-esque leader on his rise to power. Half of the world's population was wheelchair-bound. He was running on a platform of "Cripples Cripple America". He held his rallies on top of a giant ziggerat, so that all of the handicapped people could not interfere. They were picketing at the bottom of the steps with their angry signs and slogans.

    I worry about myself sometimes.

  5. #5
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    I'm not sure how to answer this. Normally, I don't remember my dreams upon waking.

    For that rare time when I do, I definitely write it down if it's remarkable enough to remember. But...most of the time, even when I do remember, it's not that remarkable.
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  6. #6
    I've filled several dream journals. I keep one beside my bed. Sometimes I don't use them for anything. Sometimes I get a scene or two, or maybe a character, or a setting. Sometimes I get a whole novel. You just never know.

    It costs nothing to write them down. So why not?
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    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    Yeah, I kept one, for a class... worthless.

    I'm a firm believer that dreams can benefit the human psych, but over analyzing them is worthless, and keeping them written down for creativity purpose seems like a waste.
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  8. #8
    DenturePunk writer bearilou's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WillSauger View Post
    keeping them written down for creativity purpose seems like a waste.
    Maybe. Maybe not. I don't think they're a gold mine but I do have one short story idea that came out of a disturbing dream. I will admit that the dream itself doesn't make a good story but adding to it to make it a story is turning out pretty good one so far.

    It bares only a passing resemblance to the dream itself but one particularly strong image from the dream is what the entire story is about.
    Quote Originally Posted by Phaeal View Post
    The first draft is a huge pile of clay that you've laboriously heaped on your table, patting it into a rough shape as you go along. From the second draft onward, you'll cut away chunks, add bits, pat and punch and pinch, until you finally have a gorgeous figure of, oh, Marcus Aurelius. Or a duck. But a damn fine duck.
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  9. #9
    @WillSauger: Eh, I really depends on what you dream about, and how you use it. Ideas can come from anywhere. So again, why not?
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  10. #10
    The Crazy Man in the Sun. Feel me. WillSauger's Avatar
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    One problem is that as soon as you wake up, the dream starts dissolving. Your mind is clearing its cache. So what you might be thinking is a dream, is only stemming from what you think was your dream.

    And, it also depends on what cycle you wake up on. You can have anything from a acid trip to a walk in the park on your mind when you wake up.

    But, whatever. If it works for you, it works for you. I've read enough dream journals to know its all nonsensical dribble, but what is trash to someone can be gold to another man; it just depends on how you look at it.
    Don't Fear Failure.

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  11. #11
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    First off, I love Assassins Creed. Kudos to you!

    I don't really keep a dream journal, per se. But I normally always have notebooks beside my bed or on my nightstand, so when I have a dream and wake up I normally try and scribble it down before I fall back asleep.

    I go to bed thinking about my current WIP a lot and at least once a week I'll wake up from a dream or wake up in the morning and remember part of it and it'll be something to do with my story.

    Sometimes I'll have a dream about something and it'll become a story or something in a story. If any of that makes sense, ha.

  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW StevenHarvey1990's Avatar
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    This is a great idea. I have tried it but usually can't remember enough of a dream to merit keep doing it.

    While on the subject of dreams, has anyone tried lucid dreaming?

    It seems like fun once you learn how to do it.
    "Movies don't create psycho's, movies make psycho's more creative"

  13. #13
    Eight Legs, All Holding Pens ArachnePhobia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakanJuu View Post
    Chastise me if this already exists here somewhere, but does anyone try to keep a dream journal for idea inspiration? I always thought it was futile, considering you have about four dreams per 8 hours of sleep & only even remember bits & pieces of the last one when you wake up, but my sleep schedule just went really weird in the past couple days & I've begun sleeping in two four hour cycles & decided to try to record my dreams.
    This is one of the reasons I keep an unlined dream journal and draw most of my dreams. I can still write them if they have a clear sequential narrative, but most of the time, it's both difficult and counter-productive to force those weird unconnected images, colors, and scenes into coherent paragraphs. I try to capture the the images, colors, and scenes themselves in a way that'll remind me how the dream felt as much as what it was about; I get more material that way. And the pictures don't have to be good, since they're just visual notes to remind me of the dream (I usually just represent myself as a green chalk-person).

    And, to be honest, I use a lot of that stuff. Facial Peel came almost wholesale from a nightmare I had, all five of the villains in The Mandilton Conspiracy are things that have chased me in nightmares (Vorticose is a repeat offender; may be why I'm so attached to him in particular. Although recently Lampyris cropped up again, and he was a lot scarier than last time. Made me rethink his status as "the nice one," lol), and some of the images I try to convey are things they did during those chases (Lampyris mumbling, "My pain..." over and over; Vorticose rising from the water with the wrapped-up body in his arms). It's a good a place as any for ideas, I guess.
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  14. #14
    practical experience, FTW
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    Too lazy.

  15. #15
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    Since I don't dream much, I don't keep one, but I am going to keep one starting tomorrow. I'm gonna buy a notebook at Walmart, one of those 180-page ones, to write down dreams and story ideas.

  16. #16
    Punctuation and I don't get along Briony-zisaya's Avatar
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    I keep a dream journal of sorts, I just wake up and either grab my phone, notebook, or laptop (whichever is closest) to write down the little bit of information I can actually remember. Sometimes it's only a few words, sometimes just a vague bit of dialogue. But one of my WIP's has stemmed from this practice. And I like to read back through some of the notes and wonder what the heck was going on when I wrote them. It can be interesting sometimes. I've often had an old idea come back to life for me when doing this.
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  17. #17
    υπείκωphobe Wilde_at_heart's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaspargoryan View Post
    Mine is more of a "wake up at 3am and write the idea down because there's no way you'll remember it in the morning" journal. Sometimes it's rubbish, but it's worth it for the occasional snippets of inspiration that come out.
    YES!

    I have fixed more than a few story problems after the occasional semi-conscious mind-wandering in the wee hours of the morning.

  18. #18
    practical experience, FTW MakanJuu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by StevenHarvey1990 View Post
    While on the subject of dreams, has anyone tried lucid dreaming?

    It seems like fun once you learn how to do it.
    Funny you should ask that, but I used to do it all the time as a child, although I didn't realize what it was or how useful a skill it was. I haven't been able to do it on cue since I was 12-13 though, & I'm 20 now.

    From my research, it seems like it started due to a combination of me being excitable & it taking me about an hour to completely drift off & the fact that my bedroom at the childhood home would get so dark at night, I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I assume those are contributors, but I really have no clue how I was doing it. I'm just as puzzled as everyone else.
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  19. #19
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    I kept one for a time. I start dreaming almost as soon as I fall asleep, and dream very vividly. Remembering dreams is easy, if you form the habit of thinking about them as soon as you wake up.

    Sleep studies show we all dream, but many simply don't remember doing so. I was in one such study, and my dreams start about fifteen minutes in, sooner, if I'm really tired, and run through most of the night in close cycles. This is why I tried writing them down, but I found after a time that I really didn't need to do so. With just a little practice, I remember them vividly, and can often control what I dream. I have several recurring dream locations, including a town I know in intimate detail, but a town that exists only in my dreams.

    If you do keep a dream journal, look up some of the techniques for remembering dreams, and for controlling them. With practice, you can finish a dream that was interrupted, or dream about a subject of your liking.

  20. #20
    practical experience, FTW LJD's Avatar
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    No. I rarely remember my dreams.
    Also, whenever I do, they make no freaking sense. Your example honestly makes an awful lot of sense compared to my dreams.

  21. #21
    8-armed cyborg tree WendyN's Avatar
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    I tend to have very vivid, often lucid dreams, so I do write them down sometimes and I have had some story inspirations stem from them -- usually a setting or character or object will spark an idea once I'm awake. I think it's just as valid as getting inspiration from any source -- you take the parts that are interesting and unique, and throw out what doesn't work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by MakanJuu View Post
    Chastise me if this already exists here somewhere, but does anyone try to keep a dream journal for idea inspiration? I always thought it was futile, considering you have about four dreams per 8 hours of sleep & only even remember bits & pieces of the last one when you wake up, but my sleep schedule just went really weird in the past couple days & I've begun sleeping in two four hour cycles & decided to try to record my dreams.
    I used to write mine down very frequently, but not as much these days. I've taken ideas from the more cohesive dreams I've had and worked them into my writing. One such dream ended up being the crux of a series that Hubby and I sincerely hope to get published.
    I married my co-writer. We shared the fun of writing, now he's in the Navy and I'm at home, rewriting and (theoretically) revising.


    Stationed in Japan and loving it!

  23. #23
    Abuses commas at will. milkweed's Avatar
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    No dream journals here but my current book is based upon a dream I've been having for decades. I'm not sure why this particular dream has occurred so frequently, its not like I really want to move to another planet.

    My other dreams comprise of trying to out run a tornado I just can't get to the basement fast enough, and since I've survived an F5 event this isn't all that suprising.
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  24. #24
    Just Another Lazy Perfectionist Brightdreamer's Avatar
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    I often dream in a peculiar blend of observation, participation, and writing. I write them down occasionally, when they seem particularly compelling or intriguing.

    I used to try to keep a thorough record of my dreams, but I started going through a phase of "false starts" - I'd wake up and try to write the dream down, only to realize I couldn't write correctly, because I wasn't really awake, then I'd "wake up" again... By the time I really surfaced in the waking world, I'd often forgotten most of what was so compelling about the original dream. I took it as a sign that my subconscious didn't want the waking me nosing around in its nocturnal freeform poetry. So I backed off.

    I've tried lucid dreaming, with mixed results. Usually, by the time I figure out I'm dreaming, I'm close enough to waking up that the whole thing dissolves. More common is a dreamlike sort of lucidity - in the dream, I realize I'm dreaming, and I think I'm behaving like my waking self would in trying to control things, but when I wake up I can't for the life of me comprehend my own logic. Like the "false start" writing-down thing, I figure it's not worth obsessing over. Dreams and sleep are for relaxation; they shouldn't induce stress.
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  25. #25
    practical experience, FTW MakanJuu's Avatar
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    I know what you mean. I've had a lot of recent attempts at lucid dreaming where I remember the dream afterwards, but my logic in the dream makes no sense. But that isn't lucid dreaming. In a lucid dream, you are completely aware that you are dreaming the whole time & can make the dream do whatever you want.

    The only problem is that, since you are never really fully asleep, you will wake up just as tired, or moreso, than when you went to sleep. That was always a problem I'd have when I was little & I never knew why I would wake up tired no matter how long I slept...

    On the upside, I never had nightmares because I always knew I was dreaming &, say, if there were zombies attacking, I could always give myself an escape or spawn in a weapon, lol.
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